On Monday, President Biden got down on one knee for a photo when he welcomed the WNBA champion Seattle Storm to the White House.
Biden’s kneel, which some interpreted as a symbolic gesture in support of Black Lives Matter, prompted a response from Latasha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter; Yahoo News reported she “said the president’s possible gesture was admirable, but ‘we cannot just have symbolic progress.’” She said of Biden, “Where is that kind of passion and energy and commitment to voting rights? Because I’m not seeing him actually be able to say that he’s willing to do that.”
Cliff Albright, co-founder and executive director of Black Voters Matter, added that the organization wanted Biden to recognize “that the filibuster has metaphorically had a knee on us for a long time.”
Biden taking a knee came just before the House takes up the John Lewis Voting Rights Act on Tuesday.
During Biden’s speech to the WNBA team, he stated:
You know, I can say as much as I want — from the time my two daughters were born — that you can do anything a man can do. It’s one thing for somebody to say that and keep pounding that in the head of your five granddaughters as well. But guess what? Until they see it, until they watch, it becomes real then.
That’s why, by the way, she’s — and happens to be in Asia for me right now — but that’s why we have a female Vice President of United States of America who’s going to be — we’re going to have some presidents pretty soon.
Retired WNBA player Crystal Langhorne, now a member of the Storm’s executive team, lauded Biden, saying, “Being the first women’s team to visit this administration — an administration that aligns with so many of our values — is such an honor.”
The Washington Post reported in August 2020, “WNBA players are among the first athletes to wear warm-up shirts with social justice messaging affirming Black Lives Matter, hold media blackouts and even kneel during the national anthem.”
The Daily Wire noted in July:
The WNBA has “led the way” on social justice protests in professional basketball, according to a report last year from The Washington Post. Before NBA players walked off the court over racial injustice and emblazoned their jerseys with woke slogans, the WNBA was putting social justice front and center in the league, kneeling in protest, wearing custom shirts and sweatsuits, and, last year, introduced a “WNBA Social Justice Council” to organize players’ anti-racist efforts.
In July 2020, players on the New York Liberty and Seattle Storm teams walked off the court before the U.S. national anthem was played. The Daily Wire reported:
The WNBA players said in remarks before the game that their demonstration was over the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman killed in March after police forced their way into her home while executing a no-knock warrant. Liberty player Layshia Clarendon stood at mid-court with Storm’s Breanna Stewart before the start of the game at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, and dedicated the season to Taylor, according to the New York Post.
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